Festivals and arts in Merida

I’m astounded by the number, variety, and quality of cultural events going on in this city. In January every year, the city celebrates its founding with a Festival de la Ciudad that lasts the entire month. This year’s 470th birthday celebration included more than 200 events, with 3 to 6 of them every day, most of which are free. Over 1,000 local and visiting artists participated. The quality of the performances and exhibits has been excellent. The Yucatan Symphony Orchestra began its season last week as part of the festival. I went to the second performance today with some friends, one of whom is a music teacher. We all agreed it was outstanding. The cost? Less than $8.00 USD. February brings Carnival, which is officially one week but actually lasts for a good part of the month if pre-carnival activities are included. Carnival reportedly is a family-oriented affair that is more-or-less orderly during the events but can get rowdy after the parades are over. Check out this article for an amusing take on what the festivities are like here. Easter Week celebrations are in April, then things quiet down a bit during the heat of the summer. Merida had a music festival last summer, but I don’t know if it’s an annual event. May through August are oppressively hot here, I’ve heard. Daily showers cool things off, but mosquitos love the heat and rain. I won’t be here to enjoy that season. September brings independence day celebrations, followed by the Autumn festival in October and November. Holiday festivities in December conclude the year. Then everything starts again. In addition...

Welcome and hola from Mexico

After a long time thinking about starting a blog, I’ve actually created it!  I hope it will be useful to you and you’ll contribute your comments, ideas, and requests. It’s January 2012, and I’m spending the first 3 months of the year in Mexico.  I said goodbye to winters in New England and plan to spend them in the tropics — or other warm climates — from now on.  I’ve become a “snowbird.”  If you’re one, too, please share your tips!  If you have a favorite warm place to go in winter, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve begun my quest in Merida, Yucatan.  Merida is in the northwestern part of the Yucatan Peninsula near the Gulf of Mexico, away from the hustle and bustle of Cancun and the Caribbean coast.  I’ll be here through February.  In March I plan to do some traveling around the peninsula and the southern Mexican mainland.  Then it’s back to NH for six months or so, during which I’ll figure out what’s next.  My initial posts will focus on Mexico, for obvious reasons.  I’ll also write about other travel-related topics. The blog will evolve as my interests (or yours) lead me in different directions. Why Merida?  It’s a large (population almost 1 million), very safe and friendly city with a well preserved colonial center, a vibrant cultural life, and a rich historical heritage that includes a wealth of Mayan architectural sites in the surrounding countryside.  It would take years to see and do much of what the city and state provide.  Free cultural events and excellent entertainment are offered every day of the week....